Passage for Study: Genesis 22: 1 – 2 … 1 Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!”
And he said, “Here I am.”
2 Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”
My Journal for Today: Again, we have the same text for today, from Acts 22, where God tests Abraham’s faith by having him take his only son, Isaac, up to Mount Moriah and see if God loved the gift (i.e., Isaac) more than old Abraham loved God. Yesterday, we discussed how tightly we hold onto things God has provided is a test of our love of God. And we saw how we can hold too tightly to the things we come to adore, especially dear relationships like our children. And we noted that we must carry any and all things in life loosely, not letting any of them to be grasped too tightly.
Well, it is legitimate to ask why a loving God would put old Abe to such an extreme test of faith. Was it to let God see that Abraham really did love God or Isaac more? No, … that can’t be; because God is omniscient; and God knew before it happened how Abraham would respond, didn’t He? Well, then, to whom was God trying to show the object of Abraham’s faith and love? And the answer is in the word “test” in verse 1 of Genesis 22. And from the Hebrew that word TEST is the word “nacah” [prounounced “nasah”], which is an assayer’s term. It means that something is put to a test (for example, gold or silver) to prove just how pure it is. And the ones in this passage who needed to determine the purity of Abraham’s faith were Abraham himself and his son, Isaac.
Abraham, having failed God on several occasions in his past needed to see that he had the faith to do exactly what God would command; and Isaac, Abe’s son, needed to see the pre-eminence of Godly faith in action from his dad’s example for his future as the one to carry on God’s seed to God’s people. Abraham had been impure of faith when he lied to save his skin twice and when he didn’t trust God for the Covenant by having a child by his wife’s handmaiden. And so, we see God, Who knew how Abraham would respond, with Abe’s faith having matured over the years, putting Abraham through this test to show Abraham and Isaac just what faith in God is all about.
Now, we come to a 2nd Cor. 13: 5 (check it out) faith test in our New Covenant lives. As Swindoll puts it, we have to ask ourselves, “Do I adore the gifts of life more than I adore the Giver?” Yes, when we put our faith in God through the crucible of life, letting the pressure and heat of our choices test whom or what we really love most, how does our love and trust of God come out from this test? Is our love of God, the Giver, purer and more refined than our love of the gifts He has given us? Or have we allowed our hearts to become polluted by the love of stuff more than our love of the Savior?
Because, if there’s anything in our lives which is polluting our love of God by causing us to love self over Savior, we must either eliminate it or let it go to the point where God becomes our first love again. That was Christ’s message to the rich young ruler [see Luke 17: 18-27 or Matt. 19: 16-30 or Mark 10: 17-31]; and it was His message to His church (of Ephesus) in His first letter of Rev. 2: 1-7. Our God knows that the only way He can provide and dole out His grace is when His children trust and obey Him; and so His love is a jealous love. It’s not like our human jealousy. It’s a jealousy which desires that we have all God can provide for us when we hold His love as the pre-eminent desire of our lives.
So, this story, of Abraham being able to see the reality of his own dominant love for God was God’s way of demonstrating to Abraham’s that his first love was for God and God alone. And the lesson was also for you and me as we read it from God’s own word from the pen of Moses in God’s first book. The question becomes our test; and we need to see – from the heat and pressures of life – just whom (or what) we love as our first love. Is our first love God; or is it something else in our lives?
My Prayer for Today: Lord, I declare You # 1 in my life. I pray that my life choices – under the test of life’s fires – prove that as truth. Amen